It looks like it will be “taxi for MacAskill”

30 October 2014 12.47pm.

Sir, – I write with regard to the Scottish Parliament passing the motion to lower the drink-drive threshold from its current 80 mgs to 50 mgs. I have no doubt this reduction is well intentioned but I just wonder if the SNP Justice Minister has overstepped the mark.

Firstly, as Police Scotland concede, there are no statistics at all to indicate the number of accidents  and fatalities which currently fall into the 50 – 80 mgs bracket, so for Kenny MacAskill to claim that his proposed measure will “significantly improve road safety and reduce deaths” is nothing but speculation and wishful thinking.
Secondly, it would seem that this measure targets the wrong people. Those hardened drinkers who currently adopt a catch-me-if-you-can attitude and have a skinful before driving home will continue to do so.
However, those who presently abide by the law by sensibly having just one pint of beer or glass of wine before driving will soon be at risk of becoming criminals.
Thirdly, has anyone considered the hardening effect this might have on currently responsible drink drivers? On the premise that you might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb, I can imagine a “what the hell” attitude from some once they’re over the single drink mark, knowing that the damage is already done.
To compound this, the fact that the lower drink-drive limit is subject to the same one-year ban, fine and penalty points as the current upper limit could well lead to otherwise law-abiding people considering it a chance worth taking.
My last point concerns the flagrant disregard to the licensing trade. The Scottish Government is already indebted to publicans and restaurant owners, especially when we consider that without their cooperation the ban on smoking on licensed premises would have been almost impossible to implement. Now it seems licensees might lose a sizeable trade in responsible drink drivers.
Sorry, Kenny, but we won’t be fooled. Come the next Scottish elections it’ll be “taxi for MacAskill”. Now there’s a motion to which we can all raise a glass and not fear the consequences!
Jamie Buchan.
Grove Road,

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